On October 1st, folks all across the country, regardless of their health, can begin signing up for the Affordable Care Act mandated health insurance co-ops, which offer substantial savings via pooling and government support for these new healthcare options. Obamacare, as it's commonly called, officially kicks in on January 1st, 2014.
Let's not mistake this new system for a single-payer system, or universal healthcare, which would put our healthcare in line with most post-industrial nations in the world. We don't even get a public option to compete with the current corporate providers. Over fifteen countries have true universal healthcare, and a similar number have mandated or two-tier insurance plans. If you don't believe they're successful it's because you believe American corporate media.
Anthem, United Healthcare, Humana and others still profit from our accidents and illnesses. Obamacare just enforces a bit of common sense, not allowing companies to reject applicants for pre-existing conditions and mandating that 80% of their income actually be used for patient care.
The act is helpful for those currently insured as well, as it will help hold down rate increases, give you a backup if you lose your job-related healthcare plan, and provide new options for insurance that may hold more value than your workplace policy.
So, with this context, why has the Republican-led House of Representatives voted over 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act? This while millions of Americans can't find work, climate change continues to wreak havoc, the Middle-east remains on ongoing mess, and we can get no movement on immigration or gun control? Clearly there's something wrong with this picture.
Indeed. Skipping over ridiculous comments on how the ACA will ruin America, let's consider how this may play forward.
Next week, millions of Americans, many currently without healthcare, begin to explore options with these new co-ops. They find insurance options far less expensive and far more expansive than options they've had in the past. They find their preconditions, which prohibited them from getting insurance in the past, is no longer an issue. And they find help, in the form of ACA "navigators,' who are trained to assist citizens in finding the best healthcare for their particular situation.
It is exactly this, that the government is actually doing it's job in supporting the health and happiness of its citizens, that has the GOP in such a flustered state. Citizen need is being given a fighting chance against the constant money grab of healthcare and pharmaceutical corporations. While well short of universal healthcare, this is clearly as step in the right direction.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, inadvertently let the cat out of the bag last summer in an interview with Fox News. "If we're going to repeal it, we've got to do so now or it will remain with us forever." Why? Because once the administration gets "the (health insurance) exchanges in place ... the subsidies in place," people will get "hooked on Obamacare so that it can never be unwound."
Fast-forward one year, with upcoming House and Senate races on the line. Voters are unlikely to forget that the Republican controlled house had their 40 plus votes to get rid of Obamacare, and yet by then we see it's actually making a difference in our personal lives. It's tangible when Uncle Sandy can now get hospital care for that ongoing diabetes, and when your premiums aren't jacked up because your wife is of child-bearing age. Yes, the GOP is concerned.
Now let's dovetail this with another GOP dynamic - efforts to minimize voter turnout in every state where they hold power. Aided and abetted by a Supreme Court that recently gutted the Voting Rights Act, states like Texas and North Carolina and even Ohio [along with many others] are going all out to prevent voter turnout.
These voter suppression tactics can affect turnout, but cannot affect the results of an election if the citizenry understands what's going on. They lose in spectacular fashion. And this is what the GOP fears with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act - that they will lose power. They begin to recognize that their power comes from we, the people, who have the power and responsibility to end such disgusting priorities and policies by voting these folks out.
Jim Prues is running for congress against Steve Chabot in the First District of Ohio. He's running as a Democrat and on the World Five Platform. He's also the founder of World 5.0 and a Cincinnati business owner. He understands that "democracy is not a spectator sport.'